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Dockless Bike Accident Lawyer

Serving E-Bike and E-Scooter Accident Victims in California

At first blush it may seem like dockless electronic bikes and scooters are a great new thing. The dockless bikes and scooters are located through GPS after downloading an App on your smart phone. Part of downloading the App includes your agreement to the “Terms of Use,” which includes an age restriction of 18.

Operators in San Diego County include:

  • LimeBike – Green bikes, scooters, and e-assist bikes
  • Ofo – Yellow bikes
  • Bird- Black scooters
  • DiscoverBike – Gray bikes (Formerly “DecoBike” Docked)

What are the rules for dockless bikes and e-scooters?

All renters must be at least 18 years old. Some (Lime, for example) will allow riders between ages 13-18 if the renter is the minor’s parent or legal guardian. Beware: the adult assumes full financial and/or any other responsibility as a result of the minor’s use of the bike. The adult also expressly guarantees that the adult and the minor are bound by the User Agreement and all of its terms.

There are no special laws or rules for dockless bikes and scooters. All operators recommend riders wear helmets, but the rider usually has to provide it. If the bike or scooter is motorized, the rider must have a driver’s license or permit and wear a properly fitted bike helmet in accordance with the Vehicle Code. Any minor operating a bicycle, motorized or not, must wear a helmet pursuant to the Vehicle Code.

Responsibilities

Unfortunately, not even all the adults that rent these bikes and scooters act responsibly.  Some riders abandon the bikes in locations that block the public right of way. At a March 20, 2018 meeting the Coronado City Council declared that dockless scooters and bikes were a public nuisance.  Enforcement plans were revealed: police will tag bikes in the public right-of-way with notices to remove the property within two hours. The public services division will be authorized to impound the bikes and scooters and possibly fine the company up to $100 per bike.

Whether renting a dockless bike or considering renting one, remember to follow all the rules of the road. When finished with the rental, do your part. Park the bike legally when you are done using it. Don’t just add it to a heap of other discarded rental bikes.

Many other San Diego communities are holding public meetings to address the issue of dockless bike clutter. Among them: La Jolla, The Gaslamp Quarter, Mission Beach Boardwalk and Little Italy. In fact, most communities have had concerns with dockless bikes and scooters and complaints from merchants are on the rise.

What are the current issues with e-bikes in San Diego?

As of May 11, 2018:

  • The San Diego Mayor’s Office is working on an emergency ordinance banning electric scooters, such as LimeBike and Bird, from the Mission Beach Boardwalk, from Crystal Pier south to the jetty.
  • Residents continue to complain about the reckless use of electric scooters along the Mission Beach Boardwalk, which has resulted in collisions and injuries.
  • The San Diego Police Department has written 182 citations to scooter riders for not wearing helmets, 27 tickets for riding on sidewalks, and 43 warnings for exceeding the 8 mph speed limit.
  • California law already prohibits motorized scooters from being driven on sidewalks.

Recently, the company, Bird, introduced the Save Our Sidewalks (S.O.S.) Pledge:

  • Daily retrieval of all vehicles from city streets nightly and inspect/maintain/repair, and reposition as needed for the following day
    • Pledge not to add any vehicles in a city unless the current vehicles are being used on average at least three times per day (weather permitting). Unused vehicles will be removed, and utilization data will be shared with cities
    • One dollar ($1) per vehicle per day will be remitted to city for construction of more bike lanes, to promote safe riding, and maintain shared infrastructure.

It’s hopeful all scooter and bike-sharing companies will adopt similar policies to avoid public nuisances created by their abandoned vehicles.

If you or your child was injured in an accident involving an e-bike or e-scooter, contact the San Diego bicycle accident attorneys at EB Cycling Law today!